Small business optimism in Manitoba increased by one point in December in the latest monthly Business Barometer produced by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
At 62.3, Manitoba still remains slightly below the national index of 62.6.
"Small business optimism has increased over the last three months in Manitoba, but it still remains slightly below the national average and we continue to trail all of our western neighbours," said Janine Carmichael, director of provincial affairs for Manitoba.
According to the survey the main operating challenge in Manitoba remains the shortage of skilled labour (41 per cent). Wages (55 per cent), fuel/energy (53 per cent) and taxes and regulations (50 per cent) are the top cost pressures in Manitoba.
A sobering result that tempers the optimism is that 18 per cent of Manitoba businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months and the exact same percentage plan to decrease.